March 26, 2005

My Last Terri Schiavo Post


Trampling the Constitution in an earnest desire to do good in high-profile cases has been a hallmark of a certain sort of liberalism, and it's the sort of thing that I thought conservatives eschewed. If I were in charge of making the decision, I might well put the tube back and turn Terri Schiavo over to her family. But I'm not, and the Florida courts are, and they seem to have done a conscientious job. Maybe they came to the right decision, and maybe they didn't. But respecting their role in the system, and not rushing to overturn all the rules because we don't like the outcome, seems to me to be part of being a member of civilized society rather than a mob. As I say, I thought conservatives knew this.

I thought so, too.

Donald Sensing:

It's obvious that arguments about Terri Schiavo fall into two main camps.

• On the one hand are people who believe that the removal of Terri's feeding tube has been railroaded through the courts by hostile, adulterous husband Michael, who deperately wants Terri dead so he can make off with untold riches in newly-unhindered settlement money and life insurance. Michael, of course, actually injured Terri himself in the first place. Furthermore, Terri's condition is actually much better than a dozen or so doctors have testified under oath; their diagnosis that Terri is in a permanent vegetative state is simply wrong and the Florida courts have willfully ignored or rejected all evidence to the contrary. Likewise, the courts' rulings - that Terri herself had stated more than once, before her injury, that she would not want to be kept alive in such a condition - are unjust, flawed and based on bogus testimony by Michael and the two other persons who testified that they had heard Terri say so.

Hence, Terri is about to be murdered in a moral, if not technically legal, sense. Therefore, any measure is justified in restoring her feeding tube, including federal intervention or, as Gov. Jeb Bush was considering yesterday, taking Terri into state custody.

• On the other hand are people who trust that the PVS diagnosis is valid, having been confirmed multiple times, that the Florida courts followed both the letter and intent of Florida law governing such cases, including ruling that the burden of proof was met in showing that Terri had uttered statements that she would not want to be kept alive in her condition. People on this side may agree that Michael Schiavo is no paragon of virtue, but also acknowledge that allegations regarding his actions and motives were exhaustively explored by investigators and the courts and that no facts were found sufficient either to implicate him as a cause of Terri's condition or to impeach his testimony about Terri's pre-injury statements or the testimony of the other five persons who so testified.

This group believes that the Florida courts have handled this case properly, if not perfectly, and that there is no justification for federal intervention or unilateral executive intervention by Gov. Bush.

Not everyone in either camp cleaves to every point of the descriptions I make, but most substantially do as far as I can tell. We need to acknowledge that these two camps cannot be reconciled.

This business of "I don't like the outcome, can't we re-write the rules retroactively?" reminds me of the 2000 Election. Only now, people whose opinions I normally respect are the ones who want to change the rules so they can get the result they desire.

To tell you the truth, I feel a little betrayed, and it makes me crabby when I post. I'm actually not "anti-feed tube" so much as I am "pro-rule of law," and getting bitchier by the moment as I see my erstwhile allies spin—in my mind—further and further out of control.

Attila the Hub: But there is a cultural substrain out there that views human life as only worthwhile according to what the person can contribute; there's a utilitarianism that leads to situations like what we see in the Netherlands.

Attila Girl: It's out there. But I don't think it's driving this case.

(I then proceeded to win the argument, but I don't want to go into how I did that because it would be bragging.)

Pray for Terri. And then, please pray for our system of government and our way of life.

UPDATE: Please read the Terri Schiavo FAQ at Football Fans for Truth being linked by Instapundit, Protein Wisdom, and Gosh-Knows-Who-Else-By-Now. There's a lot of information there that one doesn't hear every day: for instance, I didn't know that an MRI scan would require brain surgery on Terri to remove implants in her head; I thought it would be a relatively simple procedure.

Posted by Attila at March 26, 2005 06:14 PM

Thank you for this post. You've expressed my own thoughts on the Terri Shiavo case so well.

It's such a sad one. What troubles some people most is, as they say, the death of hope. But that's reality. We can't change it, we can't bring her back to life. The damage, however it happened, has been done, and it's irreversible.

I have only one thing to add: I wish we knew if they are treating her for any pain she may possibly feel, badly brain-damaged though she is. Just in case.

If she is suffering, it's because of the attitude toward pain medication by the exact same people who are trying to circumvent the court process to reinsert the tube. Jeb Bush and co. are working hard to criminalize legal pain meds here in Florida, and seem to consider it immoral to use them no matter what.

That attitude is not called compassion. Not in my book.

Posted by: k at March 26, 2005 06:39 PM

I thank you for this post. It seems well considered and gives both sides a chance/reason to express themselves. You are an independant thinker and it shows. This case made it's way through the legal system more times than any normal case would because her father and mother could not let it go. I respect them for their devotion to their daughter. However, the courts must follow the current law. My father is a retired cirquit court judge and has had to make personaly painful decisions because it was his duty to follow the law. I feel for her and her family. I only wish it was legal to administer a lethal dose of morphine, but that would be actionable. The only legal recourse was to remove the tube and let her die of dehydration. This is the most appalling part of the case and I think this is what has motivated so many people to rally to her defense. Alas, the law had no alternatives available to it. This weekend, in your celebration of God and His Son, include Terri's family in your prayers. That is all we can do.

Posted by: P Mann at March 26, 2005 07:52 PM

It had been my understanding that she was being given pain medications--or at least that was usual in these instances. (Just in case.) And that they will ease the dehydration sensations in her mouth with ice chips and gels.

I agree with K: it's paramount that we discuss more aggressive pain management. In particular, I find it appalling that we hold back with respect to the terminally ill: it really doesn't matter if someone gets habituated to a certain drug if they are no longer working and are going to die a few months later anyway.

There are moments I think our society sees something noble in suffering. Suffering can be noble if it serves some good cause. But if it's for no reason other than medical prudery, it's just f**ked up.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 26, 2005 11:50 PM

From my readings, it seems it is the Florida Courts which have ignored the rule of law, while the FL Legislature (and then Congress) was trying to prod it in the right direction. The idea was to take another look at the case, with a keener eye, and see if the "right" outcome was reached. I don't see anything wrong with that.

It's a complex issue, and I am still trying to sort out my feelings on it completely.

If I could pick a single thing which makes me side with the parents on this one is that Michael Schiavo has refused to allow even basic testing, which could give us a good idea about how much mental function there could be.

This case is kind of a perfect storm. There is a confluence of factors which come together to make this as controversial as it is.

1) Conflict in the family. Difficult in any case.

2) Questions raised about husband's interests. I have read his statements from the malpractice trial (where he said she felt pain and expressed likes and dislikes), and in various interviews, and I just get the feeling something isn't right.

3) The fact she is being starved to death, rather than removed from traditional "life support."

4) The uncertain status of her condition. This, I think, is what Congress wanted to determine. To re-examine the facts of the case. I don't see that being too controversial, especially when Congress was basically trying to accomplish the same thing the FL legislature did (which was overturned for whatever reason).

Posted by: Palooka at March 27, 2005 03:39 AM

I have no issue with the courts. I think the courts did what they were bound to do, and that the Supremes have or had, no business in this. Terri's death, and the method thereof are tragic; truly a death of hope.

My problem is the husband. Naturally, the investigators will fruitlessly exhaust themselves, unable to ascertain the truth of the allegations when, damn, the body just isn't ready for autopsy, now is it? The only sad thing about some ultra right-winger killing this grasping, greedy, puerile piece of shit, is that it would deprive his children of his presence, however distasteful.

Posted by: JD at March 27, 2005 07:25 AM

The reasoned and balanced viewpoints you've continued to hew to in your blog site are a refreshing change from the frothing of the boiling public kettle. I have only a little that I care to add.

In response to Palooka, whose arguments I find worthy of respectful consideration, I believe that the rule of law that is being undermined in this case is the separation of powers on the one hand, and one law for all citizens on the other.

Mr. Delay is having some career difficulties at the moment that I believe have caused him to act against his better judgement, and in response the courts have gotten their backs up. Poor Mrs. Schiavo is a pawn in a very cynically played out public brawl.

With respect to the physical processes that occur in Terri Schiavo's circumstances, any local Hospice can provide you with an enormous amount of very detailed information. Against the day when all you can do for a family member is be there to comfort them, it is important material to learn. Dehydration is by far the primary issue, and ultimately results in major organ failure - usually the kidneys. Sitting with the patient and frequently moistening their lips and tongue with a sponge-tipped swap eases the discomfort quite a bit. I hope someone is sitting with here and doing all they can to that end.

Posted by: douglas brown at March 27, 2005 07:47 AM

These are the same normally pro-family types who argued Elian Gonzalez should be kept from his own father. The arguments about Michael Schiavo are unhinged. People know NOTHING about his relationship with his wife, or his feelings about his wife's brain damage, his (well documented) efforts to find the best doctors to treat her, or his coming to terms with the fact that the woman he married no longer exists. They're demonizing him like a soap villain, based in NOTHING

Posted by: jeff at March 27, 2005 08:46 AM

I don't like the things I hear about him, but some of the things I hear are so far beyond the pale that they defy credibility. (I have a lot of trouble believing that a man would ask his nurses, "is she dead yet? Is the bitch dead yet?" No matter how awful a person he is, no one would expose his basest feelings that way.)

But I was on the other side in the Elian Gonzalez case, based on the fact that Elian's father was non-custodial, and that his mother had died in an attempt to get him to this country. Of course, my attitude toward fathers is "prove your right to be considered a parent; biology alone doesn't cut it." Which is patently bitchy of me.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 27, 2005 09:54 AM

I think the talk of the damage to the rule of law is a bit overblown. It is not a violation of the seperation of powers nor does it conflict with my federalist leanings for the congress to instruct the courts to review this case. A state does not have the right to deny a person life, liberty or property without due process.

And despite talk about congress overreaching that is all they asked for. Terri got plenty of due process regarding the process of her legal proceedings, but only one judge in all these years ruled on the facts of the case. I am more than a little troubled by that.

Yes Jeff there has been considerable hyperbole regarding Michael, but there is also reason to question whether he has a conflict of interest regarding Terri's best interests. It is a fact that the only case for what Terri would have wanted is based on hearsay from him. That is thin. And it is one thing to not want to be kept alive by a machine and it is quite another to be starved to death. Anybody making the case that Terri would have wanted that should have their own psychic friends network.

The federal judge that refused to uphold the law that congess passed and the president signed is a product of the florida circuit court system. He basically told congress to flip off by reviewing the case for less than two hours. It was pretty clear what congress wanted, and they did not get it. If you want to talk about the damage to the rule of law, IMO it was damaged by the action of judges in this case, who answer to no one and have placed themselves above the other two branches of the government.

Posted by: Pile On® at March 27, 2005 12:07 PM

Pile On, please read this post over at Instapundit regarding the action taken by Congress, and read the Football Fans for Truth FAQ referenced in the entry (see update) WRT Michael Schiavo.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 27, 2005 01:58 PM

I read Insty, and frankly I disagree with him. Separation of powers does not mean a state can do as it pleases with no federal oversight. It is perfectly acceptable that the case go before a federal judge to insure that Terri's right to due process are upheld. With all due respect to Glen, that is far from a tranpling of the constitution.

Congress makes the laws, and they do have authority to instruct the court to review a case. If they had ordered the outcome I could see Glen having a point, but that is not what they did.

Having reviewed the FAQ, (thanks for the link) it still seems, that only one judge presided over the facts of the case, unless I missed something. Yes, yes I know there were years of proceedings, but it had to do with process not the facts.

The legal process was sound, and it may have arrived at the right conclusion, but it seems there are still enough doubts that a real review in federal court was warranted.

I still maintain that Judge Whitmore gave the congress and the president a slap in the face, and that is where the damage to the rule of law is in this case.

Posted by: Pile On® at March 27, 2005 03:09 PM

W-H-I-T-T-E-M-O-R-E. Pronounced Whit-eh-more.


Posted by: Attila Girl at March 27, 2005 03:36 PM

Oh, well, that changes everything then.


Posted by: Pile On® at March 27, 2005 03:51 PM

It is absolutely possible Michael Schiavo was a loving husband, and took some time to come to terms with his wife's condition. This would explain his conflicting comments a year or so after the accident with what he contends today. However, the conflict does exist, and at least one possibility is he isn't telling the truth. It adds further suspicion (perhaps unfairly) that money was on the line when he wanted to keep her alive (more money for disabled people in constant care).

It seems a lot of people think--I am unsure of the reasons--that Michael did this to Terri and there are allegations of domestic violence based on a bone scan showing fractures in her ribs. I think, without any more proof, Michael should be given the benefit of the doubt. I would like to know why many think he did this because this seems like a serious charge to throw around without good reason.

RE: Separation of Powers:

It is necessary, of course, to have one branch have a final determination to produce permament results. But yielding complete deference to the judiciary because of this pragamatic and usually sensible principle is essentially yielding all power to one branch. Had the Courts (both state and federal) been more tempered in recent years, instead of exercising their will, I am not sure Congress would have intervened. The judiciary has eroded its own power, and reduced the deference it has normally been granted because it has all too often abused its power.

RE: Federalism:

It an interesting case because the state of Florida is ITSELF in conflict about what to do with Terri and her case. The legislative and executive branches wanted to review her case, but the judiciary didn't approve of these actions. I am unsure of the merit of the decision, I haven't taken a look at it. But this isn't REALLY an example of anti-federalism, it is a matter of Congress siding with two out of three branches of the state legislature. That said, I am uncertain what principles (and if they're good principles) are operating here to justify the intervention on a constitutional level. There are some interesting arguments out there, but I haven't sorted them out. But just as a matter of "federalism," I see the cricticism as much exagerated.

RE Elian Gonzales:

This is suprising coming from Jeff. It's a different situation entirely, but you really think that was the right decision?

Posted by: Palooka at March 27, 2005 04:16 PM

I'd forgotten that links don't always work in my comments section. Pile-On, I'd wanted you to read this exchange over at Insty:

Ann Althouse:

I watched a number of the cable TV news analysis shows last night (and in the last few days), and I am appalled at the failure even to raise the most basic legal point about the statute Congress passed. Time after time, I heard people -- like Fred Barnes on Fox News's "Special Report" -- say that everyone knows that Congress intended to give Terri Schiavo a de novo hearing, in which the federal court would disregard everything the state courts have done, and that the federal courts ignored the statute that Congress went to such extraordinary lengths to pass. . . .

Regardless of what people like Barnes think Congress intended, the federal courts were given a statutory text to follow, and the fact is they followed that text. Yet the TV commentators -- at least what I heard -- never made this most basic point. . . . The federal courts in no way flouted the federal statute. It's irrelevant that Congress managed to make people think it was doing things that it never put in the statutory text.

To which Glenn replied:

Actually, I made that point on Kudlow last night, noting that Congress enacted a procedural statute, in the hopes of getting a substantive result. But this point keeps getting missed. It's also worth noting -- as Ann does -- that the parents' case was simply quite weak on the law. I thought conservatives were supposed to care about the law, but I see a lot of people being as result-oriented as, well, liberals are supposed to be . . . .

In an update, Insty quotes Jonathan Adler:

Congress knew how to require a stay -- indeed a prior draft of the legislation included language that would have required a stay -- but such language was not in the final statute. Quoting one, ten or twenty legislators doesn't change this fact. The 11th Circuit panel was required to review the district court's decision for abuse of discretion -- a very demanding standard -- and the majority properly exercised that obligation. This does not mean there was no injustice in the Florida courts, only that there was not a federal constitutional violation.

More here:

So I'd be interested to see where it is that you see a conflict between what Congress demanded and what was done. Can you find it in the text?

(Sorry if I got snotty about the name, but I carried it for over 35 years, so I'm overprotective. My grandfather used to go ballistic when people pronounced it "Whitmore.")

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 27, 2005 06:28 PM

You seem to be sincerely trying to reach a logical conclusion about the Terri Schiavo case. Please take a moment to check out the Empire Journal

This site is maintained by two women in New York state and contains much independent research into Terri's case. I have found it most enlightening.

Posted by: no-name blogger at March 27, 2005 06:37 PM

There is no hyphen in my name.


What is the definition of a de novo hearing?

Am I to beleive that the intent of the law that congresspeople came back to Washington from all over the country to pass and the president flew back to sign was for a federal judge to shuffle papers on his desk for a few hours and then rubber stamp the state ruling?

Or have people parsed words until they could make the case they followed the letter of the law while ignoring the spirit of the law.

I could link to the dissent in the federal appeals case, but what is the point. It was a dissent so I guess I am not the only one in the minority.

Posted by: Pile On® at March 27, 2005 08:17 PM

Well, I wish I could put it past politicians to do things that made them look like they are "doing something" when people get upset about a celebrated case.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 27, 2005 11:41 PM

One argument against euthanasia is its implication that people in seriously damaged medical conditions are no longer valued. I disagree. While I value life tremendously, my living will says, Pull the plug, I don't want to "live" in an empty shell. But that's my personal decision. Lacking that document caused the Terri Shiavo disagreements.

It's now "She's essentially dead already"; vs., "Who knows for sure; when in doubt, come down on the side of life, since all life has equal value."

I say again and again, this is nothing new. These decisions and acts are carried out every single day in every state in the Union. Those saying, Oh, this "new" case will put us on a slippery slope! now we'll turn into the Netherlands! are either pretending ignorance that it's a perfectly ordinary occurrence; or, they cared so little before all the notoriety that they didn't bother to notice.

I've heard no good response as to why Terri's life is suddenly of much greater value than others in similar conditions. So here's what I surmise:

--The "we value all lifers" didn't truly care enough to know until it was played up in the press and government and they jumped on the bandwagon;

--They themselves do NOT value life equally. Why? This common occurrence mostly happens to the old and ugly. She's disfigured now from her brain damage, but Terri Shiavo is only 41, and was a very beautiful young woman.

With some exceptions, the "we value all life" people never noticed, never said a word, every time the plug was pulled on an old, crumpled, drooling Alzheimer's patient. Those are distressing and unattractive lives. They weren't beautiful, tragic, beloved by frantic parents, and possibly betrayed or beaten by the spouse trying to pull the tube. There was no romanticism involved in those other patients' histories.

So those who say Oh! we can't let this awful "precedent" take place! we value life too much, ourselves! leave me feeling a bit cynical.

Posted by: k at March 28, 2005 05:14 AM

I don't think it's a question of not valuing other lives in similar circumstances. I really think there's tremendous fear that Michael Schiavo might be acting out of ignoble motives, and that makes people feel protective of whatever part of Terri might still be left.

It connects to a sort of universal fear: that the people we trust might one day become untrustworthy.

I think some are trying to make her into a symbol of how worthwhile life itself is.

I'm just not sure they picked a good case. That's all.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 28, 2005 07:49 AM

For those looking for background on Michael Shiavo and the Schindlers, see
(Please excuse me, I don't know how to make links very well.)

DC has a number of interesting links and posts on this case; he's very much against pulling the tube, and he says why quite well. The background on Mr. Shiavo is the 3/26 WorldNetDaily: Terri's money used to pay for starvation death entry. It's slanted but has good information too.

He also has a new post on morphine use for Terri. Apparently they've only just started it now.

Michael Shiavo - to whom I'm totally unsympathetic for several reasons - and Terri's father first parted ways just after the malpractice award was made. The allegations at the time were that Mr. Schindler expected part of the award to be given to him by Michael. (The parents received no funds directly from the malpractice case.) I find this credible. Mr. Schindler isn't such a nice guy either, IMO. The greed's on both sides.

If Michael did put Terri in her current condition via a murder attempt, the fact remains that she's damaged beyond repair. How she got there shouldn't change the decision on pulling the tube. What to do with the money's another matter; no one should profit from crime, if crime occurred.

So Michael Shiavo's ulterior motive isn't just freedom to marry, it's inheritance. Whether that's behind his decision to pull the tube isn't known to me.

Being able to follow this on the local news for many years, it's not a new case to me. But the issues aren't new to anyone.

Miss Attila, I realize how and why it hits people in the gut. And I know we lead busy and distracted lives, and can't always consider all of the philosophical issues we'd like to.

It's the folks making use of Terri for their own ends that really get me. Not just the politicians, but those who want to wail and tear their hair and throw themselves in front of police vans for their own emotional satisfaction. Let 'em get arrested if they want to so badly. But they're forcing innocent bystanders to make sacrifices they shouldn't have to make.

For example, they impede access to, and the peace of, Terri's hospice; security concerns are necessarily high, and it takes a long time to get through security.

One result is, an old gentleman in the hospice whose one wish for his death time was to have his family there, ended up dying about one minute before they made it through security to his bedside.

These issues need to be addressed by us all - ahead of time, in quiet contemplation. I do believe that the argument that "I value all life equally and you evil tube-pullers don't" is not true for those who think this case is unique. If they valued the old and ugly, it wouldn't seem a unique case to them.

I value life tremendously. I also value sovereignty, including our right to decide for ourselves when we want extreme measures used or terminated. I value the peace and dignity of others in that hospice. Lots of those anti-tube pullers don't. It's all about them. Not about Terri, not the disabled, not the terminally ill.

Posted by: k at March 28, 2005 08:38 AM

Good comments from both K and Atilla.

Again, let me restate my feelings. I think what the FL legislature and eventually Congress wanted was to re-examine the facts of the case to determine 1) what her condition is 2) would she want to live in that condition. I don't think that is unreasonable, and I am not sure why the the courts fought that extra dose of due process to which the legislature of Florida, and ultimate Congress felt she was entitled.

I think the one good thing out of this is that people realize the importance of a living will.

Also, I think a HUGE factor in this, which I didn't mention earlier, is the video tapes. She appears to be conscious, she appears to be responding much as a severely retarded person would. It's hard to deny that sliver of humanity which is left in her, and she is not in a steady decline near death like most who are disconnected from life support. Though K is correct that many people make these life and death decisions for their loved ones often, they are rarely so difficult.

Posted by: Palooka at March 28, 2005 10:01 AM

The American Conservative magazine asks this week that "which sacred Republican priciple will be thrown out next?"

It's been astonishing to me to watch how quickly SOME people in the GOP, who usually shout loudly for a strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution, of the Federal Government bring reduced in size and scope, and against activist judges, have now drunk the Federal kool-aid and realized that this Federal Power stuff is kind of neat when pressed into service of their own ideas. There was a time - ten, maybe 14 days ago - when people who demanded the use of federal and judicial power to further their own agenda were called "liberals" or "activist judges" if they happened to own a gavel. No longer.

The legal reality is this. This is a matter exclusively for Florida and the Florida courts, unless the woman's Federal rights - generally speaking, the 14th Amendment rights - have been violated. Your opinion does not matter. My opinion does not matter, either. What matters is the laws in place in Florida at the time, whether they were followed, and whether the woman's federal rights were breached. Every level of the Federal Court system has now stated unambiguously that they see no evidence of this; they stated it before the extraordinary scenes of the other weekend, and they have stated it since.

The test of how strongly held a party's principles are is not how loudly they shout about them, but whether they follow those principles when it is disadvantageous to them to do so. Of course, the right to life is a principle deeply held in many sections of the GOP, myself included, but there is now a serious divide between those in the GOP who believe in the afore-mentioned principles - strict constructionist interpretation of the constitution, of the Federal Government bring reduced in size and scope, and judges ruling what the law says, not what it OUGHT, in their opinion, to say - and those who will throw out the rule of law, the constiutiton, and every other principle they hold over one issue, blind to the consequences.

And the consequences are these. The next time you hear a conservative complaining about an activist judge, ask them what there opinion on Terri Schiavo was. If that person opposes what the Judges did, which was to strictly follow the laws of the land, to not overturn state statute, to follow what the law said rather than what they thought it ought to say, then to me, that person isn't a conservative - they're a liberal with a different social agenda. They have unwisely forfeited their credibility (and, by proxy, robbed from all of us our credibility) to complain about judicial activism just at the moment we need to be able to critique judicial activism the most.

While I do not doubt the sincerity of the good intentions of those in the GOP trying to save this woman, we cannot throw out the constitution, nor abandon every other principle we hold to save her - otherwise, we run the risk of finding out exactly where that road paved with glittering good intentions is leading.

Posted by: Simon Dodd at March 28, 2005 10:53 AM

Hear hear, Simon Dodd! Principles! Finally!

Palooka, here's a good background piece on the videotapes and why they may be misinterpreted:

For years, I've been watching just the excerpts that make it look like Terri's "aware." That's all they show on TV news. But still I don't believe they portray higher than vegetative consciousness, attempts to communicate, visual tracking, or thought processes.

The Schiavo/Schindler background piece describes the full 4 hour tape's origin. It was made for a court exhibit. That's always suspect evidence, naturally. You could even argue that if it's objective, it's remiss. Here the slant is in the selective presentation of information.

Understandably, Terri's parents slant evidence deliberately to help their case. It's hard for loved ones to stay unbiased even when they try. They also see what they wish for. Love and fear and hope, and maybe revenge, drive their actions, decisions, and interpretation. Here, the slant is in the interpretation of information received.

Miss Attila is such a relief. Where else can you see so many posters willing to admit this is a difficult case and they haven't made up their minds on all its aspects? I haven't either, and I've been interested in it for a long time, and get to see many more developments simply because it's "local" news to me.

Michael Shiavo was accused by the Schindlers of attempted murder. True or false, that's a big reason for acrimony. No one knows why this 26-year-old woman suffered such a huge potassium deficiency that her heart stopped, depriving her brain of oxygen long enough to largely destroy it. He says she had an eating disorder, but it seems there's no independent evidence of it. The malpractice was this: her fertility doctors should have picked up on her potassium imbalance. On that, the court agreed.

Terri's parents say Michael somehow engineered the deficiency, trying to kill her. There's no evidence of any kind of that. Doesn't mean it didn't happen, though. After investigating, the police brought no charges.

IMO - and it's just an opinion - Michael is a jerk and a control freak, a con artist, greedy, vengeful, and unfaithful, and possibly physically violent as well. But there's also a lot of that stuff in Mr. Schindler. In the end, you have two parties pitted against each other who ceased to be rational long ago. Their emotionalism is understandable, especially given their personalities. But it thwarts their desires on all sides.

If you want to help care for your daughter, you shouldn't alienate her legal guardian by loudly and publicly calling him a murderer. Or by trying to arm-twist him into giving you money from the lawsuit, if that did happen. Going quietly to the cops would have served the parents' purpose, which was to push for an investigation, without shooting themselves in the foot.

And if Michael didn't want the malpractice fund wasted on legal fees to defend his acts as guardian from the Shiavos' lawsuits, he should have overlooked their nasty accusations and let them participate in her care. That would have been a decent thing to do, at no cost to him.

Cooperation. Not war. Because the person who gets overlooked during the battle is the only true innocent: Terri Shiavo herself.

Posted by: k at March 28, 2005 12:46 PM

I have a question about the morphine being administered to Ms. Schiavo:


If there is really no one home there, if she is incapable of feeling pain or emotion, is unaware of her surroundings and incapable of thought, then *why* administer morphine?

"Just in case...?"

Just in case what? That there is a sentient, feeling human being there being painfully dehydrated to death?

"Just in case"...if someone is sufficiently concerned that she is in excruciating pain (a normal result of death by dehydration) that a morphine drip is being administered, should this fact alone not shout from the rooftops that justice demands they rehydrate her and perform the necessary tests to find out?

Despite the pristine record of the process being followed, the facts of her case were only examined one time, by one judge with a bias in favor of "right to die" issues.

Apparently it is too much to ask of our hallowed, sacred courts to re-examine the facts case under Federal jurisdiction...

Here is the link K mentioned above.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 28, 2005 12:53 PM

"...facts OF the case..."

And I even used preview...

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 28, 2005 12:58 PM

I tried to stay away from any conspiracy theories on my blog. The only thing I did copy was the avidavit by the nurse who took care of Terri and had gone to the police. I just find it incredible that back then she would have gone to the police if she really didn't think something terrible was going on. She seemed credible to me.

That being said. After growing up in the middle of the civil rights movement, I can tell you that laws that are unjust stay on the books for a long time. It takes emotions such as these to get us as a society to look up and say "wait a minute, this IS wrong."
Starving someone is wrong no matter how many times it is done a day. We need to find a better way and a better way to make these decisions. If nothing else good comes from this, let it be that.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at March 28, 2005 01:37 PM

If you think the politicians went crazy on this one, imagine the governor of Alabama PERSONALLY standing in the doorway of a school refusing to let black children in a white school.

President Kennedy ordered James Baldwin to be escorted into Ole Miss despite the state law.

Right or Wrong this isn't the first time the govt. gets involved.

How soon we forget our history.

Posted by: Rightwingsparkle at March 28, 2005 01:41 PM

Here's my bias:

I wouldn't trust my sister's first husband with this type of decision. She got married at 22 (similar to Terri) and lasted 6 years with this jerk (even though I didn't trust him from day one).

In more recent years, my "cousin-in-laws" also married men that would have leveraged any situation to thier benefit financially while cheating on their wives at the same time.

All three women would have signed a power of attorney with these husband's in the first years of marriage (romantic love some times takes a couple of years to wear off).

The assumption that the husband should be the guardian in any of these type cases should be taken with a grain of salt much like the old assumption that a child was better off with the mother.

I don't know about the Shiavo case, but in my personal experience if there's a conflict between the family and the husband (especially with less than 7 years of marriage and relative young in age), I'd really have to be shown that the husband deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: JFH at March 28, 2005 02:13 PM

Yes. Just in case.

As harsh and cold as that may sound.

DC, you know I consider you truly sincere in your disagreement with pulling Terri's tube. You're convinced she's sentient and tracking, that she physically feels what's happening to her.

I'm not. Not at all.

But no one can possibly know for sure, unless we could inhabit her body.

There are many times I say, Err on the side of caution. So I say now, Give her morphine.

I don't believe she is able to feel pain, not with the extreme brain damage she sustained. They've tested her pain responses at great length. But since I can't know for absolutely sure, I'll say she might feel some pain somewhere somehow, in some manner we don't understand and have no evidence for, even though the overwhelming response of health care workers who see these states on a daily basis is, "no."

Given that she is dying, and given that you believe she feels it, would you really have them withhold pain meds? I don't think so. Not you.

I hear you saying, If you think she feels pain that means we shouldn't let her die; it evidences a belief that she's not that far gone.

But for me to say, Administer those pain meds, doesn't mean I believe she feels pain - or understands what's happening - or isn't that far gone. It's only in keeping with a general philosophy of mine that says: If it won't cause harm, and it might help, do it.

That's all.

Because harsh and cold isn't what I feel toward Terri Shiavo at all. In fact, it's just the opposite.

Just in case you wondered.

Posted by: k at March 28, 2005 03:34 PM

"Palooka, here's a good background piece on the videotapes and why they may be misinterpreted:

For years, I've been watching just the excerpts that make it look like Terri's "aware." That's all they show on TV news. But still I don't believe they portray higher than vegetative consciousness, attempts to communicate, visual tracking, or thought processes."

I am not willing to make a judgment one way or another, but my knowledge that doctors pretend to understand things they really don't (I am not sure how they can definitively conclude her apparent humanity is not humanity but mere "reflex") adds, I think, much needed humility to the decision process. Also, the fact that Michael Schiavo has refused to allow tests which could corroborate her diagnosis of PVS (MRI, etc) strongly supports my unwillingness to come to a determination of her mental state.

That is why I think what the FL legislature wanted (and then Congress) was reasonable. Take another look at this case, review the facts as decided by ONE judge (I think people misunderstand the appeals process), and decide if the facts support the original determination.

Posted by: Palooka at March 28, 2005 07:29 PM

My first impulse is to say that in a terminal case, or a case wherein someone is in a PVS and it's decided that she should be allowed to die, more proactive measures should be taken to make sure it happens quickly.

But I doubt that DC or Sparkle would like that any better, and even I think it might be a very slippery slope indeed.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 28, 2005 08:32 PM

Righto! A good clean *WOP* to the head and they're ready for the morgue!

"Bring out your DEAD!"

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 29, 2005 12:16 AM

One of the best posts I've seen on this subject, Attila Girl.

What continues to turn this case on its head is that the outcome is so important, and so we cannot get past the question: in the end, does the end justify the means if it produces a "better" outcome?

Is it more important to follow procedure or seek what we view as the right outcome?

And even then there is a troubling question: the principle that leads to a "satisfactory" outcome in this one case, may not, in the end, be such a great idea in the aggregate - for either side.

And that troubles me more than I can tell you.

Posted by: Cassandra at March 29, 2005 04:39 AM

I understand your "crabbiness" referred to in original post. I normally am a pro-rule of law person. But when "law" ceases to look like justice, I get very, very antsy. Law ceased to look like justice in nazi Germany. It didn't happen all of a sudden. It happened in little increments over a lot of years. But the collective outcome was monstrous. Aside from the very terminal impact this is having on Terri Schiavo the person, I am very concerned about the impact this Judge Greer-based and very flawed finding of fact, is going to have on the future rights of the disabled, and then others deemed unworthy of life for some reason or another.

Posted by: Politickal Animal at March 29, 2005 07:55 AM

Apparently she's not on a morphine drip after all. She has reportedly received two small (5mg) doses as suppositories. See:

Posted by: k at March 29, 2005 07:57 AM

"I am very concerned about the impact this Judge Greer-based and very flawed finding of fact, is going to have on the future rights of the disabled, and then others deemed unworthy of life for some reason or another."

But wait a minute. The reason many find fault with Judge Greer's ruling is that there is conflicing testimony about 1) Terri's condition, and 2) her wishes. Irrespective of the evidence, the ruling is based on finding that Terri no longer inhabits her body, and that her wishes were to not have her body kept alive after she'd already left.

How does this create a bad precedent for people who are merely handicapped? Are you really saying that this is sub rosa euthanasia, and that the judge was not merely mistaken, but acting in bad faith?

Are you suggesting that in the future, judges will simply look for any sort of gossamer-thin rationale for ending lives prematurely, because the people involved are an inconvenience?

That's a very dark view indeed. And since the judges would have to be morally vacant, I can't see it happening.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 29, 2005 08:53 AM

Unfortunately I can. Unlike some, I don't have a very great confidence in the essential goodness of humanity. Given legal and moral cover by whatever means, humans are capable of quite a bit of moral vacancy. History is rife with examples.

Given what we know of the players in this drama, is it really beyond the pale to consider the possibility that something like what you described is what happened in this case?

In the long term view, I would rather see this addressed by legislative action after reasoned political debate and consideration, rather than to ever see a repeat of this circus. I do not trust this matter to be settled satisfactorally by the judicial branch (we are a democracy, after all), nor am I any more comfortable than Politickal Animal with the apparent precedent this and other similar cases are setting in this country. Charles Krauthammer suggested a very good starting point.

I've read many people say that Roe v. Wade short-circuited the political debate that was in progress on the abortion issue, and that is why it continues to be a simmering and unresolved issue thirty years later. I'd really hate to see the same thing happen here.

k, if you come across reliable information as to just when those doses of morphine were administered, I'd be very interested in that information (as you may guess why). I've heard three conflicting accounts now regarding the adminitration of the morphine--morphine drip, two 5cc morphine injections, and now morphine suppositories.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 29, 2005 11:51 AM

The morphine info I got was from "Schiavo's Husband Says Autopsy Will End Suspicions,"

via AP writers Rick Lyman, Abby Goodnough and John Schwartz, as follows:

"I have a grave concern that they'll expedite the process to kill her with an overdose of morphine," Mr. Schindler said.

The issue of whether Ms. Schiavo was receiving morphine and why has been a persistent source of concern among the protesters outside her hospice. Some of the placards and statements from supporters have referred to her being on a morphine drip, which many saw as evidence that she was dying in pain.

Mr. Felos said Monday that Ms. Schiavo had never been on a morphine drip. She has received two five-milligram suppository doses of morphine in the last 11 days, most recently two days ago, he said. Each dose was minimal, he said, and would have worn off in about four hours.

"I understand the frustration of the Schindler family, but there is no place for statements such as, 'The hospice is trying to accelerate Terri's death,' " Mr. Felos said.

Dr. R. Sean Morrison, a professor of geriatrics and palliative care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, said the morphine dose was "less than taking one Percocet tablet" and unlikely to have any depressive effect on Ms. Schiavo's breathing or to hasten death.

Another doctor with long experience treating patients at the end of life, Douglas Nelson of Hickory, N.C., said that providing morphine to a patient in a persistent vegetative state was unnecessary because the patient would be unaware of pain or discomfort.

But, Dr. Nelson said, "It's not uncommon for the nurse to suggest, 'Let's just give her a suppository to be on the safe side.' "

It looks like there's a huge amount of misinformation out there that's being accepted as fact. Do you have handy the sources for the morphine drip or morphine injection bits? I'm curious as to source on those, too.

Posted by: k at March 29, 2005 01:21 PM

Adultry is no longer illegal.
Children conceived/born out of wedlock are no longer called bastards - except...
If there were a signed, notarized living will asking for no tube, most of the arguments would fail. The law has determined that Terri wanted to let go. Everything else is just static.

Posted by: Walter E. Wallis at March 29, 2005 02:11 PM

I find the "he's an adulterer!" stuff to be particularly awful in light of the facts that:

1) apparently, Michael Schiavo took a long time to give up hope for Terri's recovery, and

2) when he finally did start dating again, it was partly at the urging of the Schindlers, who told him to get on with his life.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 29, 2005 04:06 PM

The info about the morphine drip was from HERE, the first I had seen any (non-subjective) information about it. Unfortunately I don't recall where I saw the info on the injections, but it may have been someone's misinterpretation, as the dose information appears to be the same as the suppositories.

Two days ago from Monday would have been Saturday. I really would be curious to find out if the first dose was the previous day (Friday afternoon). If so, that would be...interesting.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 29, 2005 04:52 PM

UPDATE: Argh! That link no longer leads to the original story--apparently it links to dynamic content, which has changed since I originally saw it there.

Posted by: Desert Cat at March 29, 2005 04:55 PM

Now that IS interesting.


The info brings us nicely back to the corporeal world, too. I feel a little fact-checking spree coming on. Have you checked out Miss Attila's link in her update to the original post? The Terri Shiavo FAQ link links to Abstract Appeal at

I'd love to hear what you think after reading those. Serious business. It's time.

Posted by: k at March 29, 2005 07:22 PM

Wonderful FAQ on Schiavo

RE Adultery:

Of course it is OK that Michael is dating other women, but I think he should have divorced her long ago. It is my understanding that because proceedings were to determine HER wishes, it would not effect whether or not her feeding tube is removed or not. It would, however, remove him from controlling any money from her estate, and it would disqualify him from determining her care (except on removing the feeding tube, as that is supposed to be based on Terri's wishes).

Posted by: Palooka at March 30, 2005 05:27 PM

The money question is interesting, particularly given that:

1) there's nearly nothing left in the trust fund established for Terri's care, so there's no real incentive for Michael to want to let Terri die for financial reasons;

2) The Schindlers got along fine with Michael until they found out that he wasn't going to give them a share of the money from Terri's malpractice award;

3) Michael has turned down large sums of money--at least a million dollars, and possibly up to ten million--to simply turn Terri over to her parents so they can care for her.

Given these facts, it's difficult for me to believe that he's acting out of anything but genuine concern for Terri's well-being and wishes.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 30, 2005 10:03 PM

"Given these facts, it's difficult for me to believe that he's acting out of anything but genuine concern for Terri's well-being and wishes."

You seem to be pretty selective about the facts. Did you know one of his former coworkers signed an affadavit that Michael repeatedly stated he did not know what Terri's wishes were. Why did it take him several years (and $700,000) after her accident to become aware of her wishes? Those are facts which make his story highly questionable, and those are facts which you seem to ignore. Also, you make it sound like the Schindler's demanded money (their story is that he said all along he planned on giving them the money to care for her). Instead that money went to lawyers trying to kill her. I am sure that's what the jury had in mind when Michael promised to love and care for her FOREVER. Maybe she's the vegetable so many seem so certain she is (again, I think that question requires a bit of humility), but Michael Schiavo's conduct is pretty damn suspicious. His conduct is one of the many reasons why this case is so controversial, so exceptional.

Posted by: Palooka at March 30, 2005 11:21 PM

I've always thought that it was perfectly likely that she said things that led him to believe that she wouldn't want to live in a PVS, but that early on that didn't apply, because Michael still had hope that her situation could improve, with therapy.

I think it was only later on that he concluded there was no way her situation would improve, and that she therefore wouldn't be able to live a life that conformed to her notion of "dignity." And that this triggered him to state that she didn't want to live like that.

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 30, 2005 11:54 PM

BS. She's pretty much been this way from the beginning, and if he were true to her supposed wishes he would have said so relatively quickly. Not necessarily immediately, of course, but not the YEARS he took.

I suppose you think it's just coincidence that he remembered these supposed wishes after he collected a rather large check for her CARE and rehab.

Oh, and I guess Michael's former coworker is just lying that Michael repeatedly said he didn't know what Terri would want.

Let's say you believe Michael, despite many reasons not to. Fine. But don't pretend this man's actions are not tainted with suspicion.

Michael waited YEARS to say anything like he now claims, and testified that he would care for Terri for the rest of his life, and then after he cashes in on her tragedy (in large part due to his testimony that Terri "feels" and "dislikes" things and that he would provide care for her for many many years) he suddenly remembers her "wishes." Then he precedes to use that money which the jury intended to pay for rehab and her care to send her to an early death. You're telling me that's perfectly normal? You're crazy.

Maybe she's a worthless vegetable. Maybe you think she should be (her wishes or not) be put down. But Michael's actions are the primary reason this case is notorious. People simply don't trust him, and I believe for good reason. I don't know if he put her in her current state, and I don't know if he beat her. I'll give him the benefit on the doubt on both of those. But I DO doubt Terri said what he claims, and I do doubt his motives are entirely (or even significantly) driven by what he believes were her wishes. I think any reasonable person will at least conclude his motives are suspect. I think that's why people have such a hard time with this case.

Posted by: Palooka at March 31, 2005 02:16 AM

Do me a favor. Read the following affadavit by a neurologist and tell me if you honestly feel the same way.

Posted by: Palooka at March 31, 2005 05:24 AM

***Note: I just heard that Terri Shiavo has died, and my heart goes out to her and all who care about her. This is the fact-reviewing post I wrote before that, and I hope it will do more to comfort people than hurt them.***

Part 1

Palooka's description of this case as a "perfect storm" is apt. To think that an innocent, perceptive, and pain-feeling person is dehydrated to death against her wishes, engineered by a husband of suspect motives, is truly horrifying. Thinking it's done without a good review of the facts adds to the pain and uncertainty of the public watching this play out.

But if Terri Shiavo actually didn't want heroic life-prolonging measures taken, and really is in an irreversible PVS state, and such facts were well reviewed, this is a very different case. Then her parents, however kind their motives, are thwarting the peaceful, private, and dignified death she would have desired, and in an extremely public way.

I think much of people's fear could be alleviated by reviewing the facts a little more carefully than they sometimes do. In the highly emotional accusations flying about, it's hard to see that some of the worst uncertainties can be cleared up pretty easily.

To make any decision, we need facts first. Get the information, analyze it as objectively and dispassionately as we can, and then make a decision after that. Don't make the decision - like "This can't be right!" - and then look for facts to back it up.

It's hard when we're pressed for time. But it's so important. This case causes so much anxiety. I'm busy too. So here's what I turned up in a quick and cursory review of information that was very readily attainable, all through links in this one post of Little Miss Attila's. I expect I've made some factual errors of my own in my haste (I'm headed out of town) but I think they aren't dispositive. I do trust someone will take a minute to correct me.

I'll state some, not all, of the public's general statements that ended up looking inaccurate to me. And I'll be pretty brief. Everyone can easily link to these sources and read the fuller versions. And all who are worried, should.

Posted by: k at March 31, 2005 07:59 AM

Part 2

-Only Judge Greer ever ruled on the facts of the case, and only one time.
---Wrong. Greer held two trials containing major fact reviews. A (3-judge?) appellate court reviewed all facts inc. the full Terri Shiavo (TS) videotape; "de novo" (new) trial not ordered because it wouldn't change their decision on the same facts they'd just reviewed. The malpractice case reviewed many facts by jury trial not judges. Other judges made thorough fact reviews on various motions, including the fitness of Michael Shiavo (MS) as guardian and more.

-Fact reviews were flawed
---More open to interpretation, yes. But: For example, see Greer on the full TS video. How to analyze whether TS is visually tracking, responding, etc.? He added up the number of times they attempted to get TS to respond to questions, etc. With no success in duplicating results - a reasonable, well proven, and time-honored test of scientific fact - he reviewed these facts with care and diligence. This fact review looks unflawed to me. Actually, it looks like high quality work.

-MS is the only source saying Terri wanted no heroic measures, and it's hearsay.
---MS, his sib, his sib in law, and two of TS's teen friends testified to Greer. Per the friends, TS wanted to be allowed to die. Greer rejected the teens' testimony due to their ages at the time. But Greer considered far more than MS's and the sib's testimony - also the totality of Terri's personality, decision-making, etc.
On hearsay: The MS & sibs' is allowable hearsay since TS can't speak. And it's better evidence than Bob and Mary Schindler (BS/MS) have. Correct me if I missed it, please, but I found nothing saying TS said she wanted heroic measures taken to BS/MS. Per Joan Hawkins on rightwingsparkle, one teen friend reported - not in a trial - that TS, angry over a cruel Karen Ann Quinlan joke, said, Where there's life, there's hope. Not sworn, not definitive, not dispositive, but out there.

Posted by: k at March 31, 2005 08:01 AM

Part 3

-TS's PVS status is uncertain, with conflicting testimony by experts.
---Except for the very recent last-ditch affidavits by BS/MS doctors who didn't examine Terri and thus are not based in observed fact (PLEASE see excerpt below) her PVS status is certain per all doctors including those testifying for BS/MS. The BS/MS witnesses only differ on whether a small piece of her cerebellum was still there. All agreed that her cerebellum had thoroughly disappeared and was replaced by spinal fluid. So, until very recently, only the parents - not physicians - disputed the PVS status; court testimony was not conflicting. On TS's ability to recover, they disagreed. You can't regrow brain cells or a big piece of a brain either, so I find this ludicrous. The cerebellum feels pain - and it's gone.

-What caused her brain damage anyway? Was it MS in a murder attempt?
---The malpractice jury found brain-damaging cardiac arrest (heart failure) due to potassium deficiency. Any evidence of beating, choking, or other murder attempt would surely be submitted by the defendants - doctors, well versed in trauma.

-MS ordered the tube pulled.
---The judge made that decision at the request of MS and BS/MS, and he ordered MS to carry it out.

-MS refused basic testing for PVS (MRI, etc.).
---Testing has been extensive. Until very recently, no MRI was requested even by the BS/MS doctors, in part because it would require brain surgery first - TS has brain implants.

-MS refused basic rehab therapy.
---Extensive therapy, including speech therapy, started in 1990 and continued over three years. TS's brain was in better condition then, too. Therapy didn't work.

-MS refused experimental treatments.
---He flew her to CA for experimental treatments. They didn't work.

-MS is a bad guardian.
---He's considered superb even by his enemies. In 13 years TS had no bed sores. This is extraordinary.

Posted by: k at March 31, 2005 08:05 AM

-MS is motivated by money.
---He offered the malpractice award to charity - BS/MS refused. MS turned down vast sums to give TS to BS/MS for care. He either isn't so motivated, or he's making sure we think so. The end result is the same. He's not getting rich off this at all.

-BS/MS aren't motivated by money.
---They parted ways with MS - whom they vociferously supported and told to start dating - when he refused to give them money from the malpractice award. Note that the court awarded them nothing; they had no right to it. Also note they needed money badly since they'd filed bankruptcy. Convincing a court that MS is a criminal or bad guardian means BS/MS control the malpractice money, and could inherit everything after TS's death. Also, they "wasted" the malpractice fund on legal actions against MS, ensuring most of that money couldn't be used for TS's medical care. This gives the appearance of greed, then revenge when they didn't get the money, even to TS's real detriment. Now there's not much money left for MRI's or PET scans. *If we can't have it, no one will.* BTW: An interesting money topic is their charitable foundation. Eg.: How much, if any, do the parents receive from it for their "work"?

-What's wrong with taking another look at the case to see if the right outcome was reached? Because as distressing as it may be, we have to say it's over at some point. It's a huge expenditure of funds (including tax dollars), time, etc. People have a right to move on even when we don't like them. Remember, this case already has received more court care than any similar case in American history.

Excerpt from "Abstract Appeal":
The doctors who wrote affidavits, by their own admission, have not examined Terri Shiavo and base their opinion on the short videotape. Most of them have not examined her records. Some of them are plugging their own new therapy; at least two are plugging the same therapy that the two Schindler physicians suggested and that the judge rejected as insufficient.

Posted by: k at March 31, 2005 08:05 AM

"How does this create a bad precedent for people who are merely handicapped? Are you really saying that this is sub rosa euthanasia, and that the judge was not merely mistaken, but acting in bad faith?" I don't think the term "merely" handicapped captures the totality of such peoples' condition. Cerebral palsy is sometimes mild, sometimes profound, always permanent. MS is progressive. People with brain damage are not ever likely to be 100 per cent their old selves, but that condition can arise from a host of things, from auto accident to stroke, and everything in-between. When the courts begin reaching into new areas, such as has been the case in the Terri Schiavo saga, down the road a bit other courts will feel freer to reach even deeper. As I said in my earlier comment, the Germany of the 1930's did not plunge into the dark ages overnight; it took some years, and the establishment of so-called "legal" precedent. But the will was there to embrace death, or to rid the population of those who were not seen as contributors. I am looking at what modern American bioethics is saying about "personhood" and am increasingly uncomfortable with what is there. Have you read anything by Princeton's Peter Singer lately?

Posted by: Politickal Animal at April 1, 2005 04:49 AM

Mae Magouirk safe for now. See Tekgnosis for further details.

Tell the Media to report the REAL Schiavo polls!

My account, etc. of Terri Schindler's Funeral Mass:

Main page:

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and Unfortunate
Left-Wing Fiddle-Faddle)
The Bernsteins
(Amazing composers
for all your
scoring needs.
Heh. I said,
"scoring needs.")

Iran, from an Islamic Point of View
and written in beautiful English—

Blogging Away Debt
Debt Kid
Debtors Anonymous
World Services

The Tightwad Gazette

Gentleman Pornographer

More o' Dat
Pop Culture—

Danny Barer
(Animation News) • Something Old,
Nothing New

(And yet more
Animation News)
Sam Plenty
(Cool New
Animation Site!)
The Bernsteins
(Wait. Did I mention
the Bernsteins
already? They're

Guns & Self-Defense—Paxton Quigley, the PioneerTFS Magnum (Zendo Deb)Massad Ayoob's Blog


The American Mind
Aces, Flopping
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Armies of Liberation
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Atlas Shrugs
Attila of Pillage Idiot

Beautiful Atrocities
The Belmont Club
The Bitch Girls
Books, Bikes, and Boomsticks
The Common Virtue
Da Goddess
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Desert Cat
Digger's Realm

Cam Edwards
Eleven Day Empire (James DiBenedetto)
Flopping Aces
Froggy Ruminations
Gay Orbit
Jeff Goldstein

Mary Katherine Ham
At the D.C. Examiner
Hugh Hewitt
Hi. I'm Black.
Iberian Notes
The Irish Lass
In DC Journal
Infinite Monkeys
Intel Dump

Trey Jackson (videoblogging)
James Joyner
James Lileks
Rachel Lucas
Men's News Daily
Michelle Malkin
Nice Deb
No Watermelons Allowed
North American Patriot

On Tap
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the Yuppies of Zion

Protein Wisdom

The Queen of All Evil
Questions and Observations
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Donald Sensing
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The Shape of Days

Sharp as a Marble
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Six Meat Buffet
Spades, Ace of
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This Blog is Full of Crap
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Venomous Kate
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Where is Raed?
Write Enough
You Big Mouth, You!


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